posted by SweetHoneyBunny
Breathing hard beneath the shading leaves of countless exotic trees, Talow could hear the sounds of men shouting to each other and pain induced shrieks. He crawled behind a large trunk, peering back at the village; from here he could see what was going on. Neighbours, some of which he had had a good relationship with were being forced on their knees as men wearing pale gray uniforms tied lengths of rope around their wrists. Buildings were burning; livestock could be heard squealing as feu licked flesh.
Talow pulled back from his viewing point, taking inventory of his hastily thrown together kit. He had a blanket, some rope, a few tins of food, and the bag. He knew he had to go back to get a few other things, the only problem was the gray men wandering through the village, pulling families from their hiding places and forcing them down. Slinging his pack back over his shoulders, Talow inched along the edges of the jungle, careful to not be seen. He snuck pass a group of three ou four boys as they crouched over a struggling body, dripping a foul smelling liquid over it. Where the liquid came in contact with the skin, bubbles could be seen forming and deep red patches appeared. Talow moved quickly away from this event.
As he neared his home, he could see soldiers sitting around and joking with each other around a pile of burning material, brothers in arms, he thought as he snuck into the building. Inside he ran to the back wall, avoiding windows and holes in the walls. Behind a panel, Talow drew out a small vile of liquid; he tucked this into a pocket where it wouldn’t spill. He was in the last mile of his mission, hand on the door when he was yanked through the very same door par a pair of strong arms.
“Found another!” The big man a dit as he dragged Talow par the back of the neck over to a group. Dust blew into his eyes as he was dropped carelessly at the feet of another soldier. Looking up, Talow could see a man with the same gray uniform and dark eyes as most of the others. He pushed himself into a sitting position, feeling the toes of black boots prodding his side.
“Another maggot, throw him with the others.” The man gestured to a cluster of villagers, some bound with rope, others with oozing wounds and burs on their faces. Talow flinched away from the reaching hands.
“Please, give me a chance. I can fight!” He wasn’t sure where this had come from but it made the man stop.
“What’s your name?” The man pulled Talow up and stood him in front of himself.
“Talow, sir.” Talow stood still while the man looked him over.
“You ever carried a gun?”
“No, sir.” The man grabbed a lengthy barrel from a strap and tossed it to him.
“You know how to follow orders?” The man stood toe to toe with Talow.
“Yes, sir.” Talow stood clutching the weapon he had been given. If he acted fast he could make a run for it, using the gun as he went; it couldn’t be that hard to figure out. Before he could do anything though, two men grabbed him from either side gripping his shoulders and holding him still.
Those two words were enough to make Talow squirm. A shorter man came vers l'avant, vers l’avant with a long metal rod in his hands. One end was shaped into something and was glowing red. The two men at his sides held him fast as the rod came closer to his skin. The heat radiated from the burning design as it bit into Talow’s upper arm. Tears formed in his eyes and a cry left his lips, pain coursed through him as his skin blistered beneath the smoking metal branded his skin with the mark of the United Flame and Sword (UFS). The world spun as the men released him, and then all was black.
Minutes, maybe even hours later, Talow woke with a nauseous feeling and a burning in his arm. He lifted his head and promptly put it back down as the world rolled. He moaned and twisted to his side, waiting for the pain to go away.
“Looks like recruit’s awake, how about we introduce him to life in the ranks?” Talow was seized and lifted to his feet where he swayed a bit until someone draped an arm over his shoulders. When his eyes focused, Talow counted five men sitting around a fire, the sky montrer that it was just after dusk. The men were watching him, some were playing cards, others were passing a bottle between themselves. The man with Talow looked older then the boys but only par a an ou two.
“These are my men and now your brothers, you're new so toi will listen to them and follow orders. Am I clear?” Talow nodded, not trusting his mouth to speak the right words. He was lead to an over-turned pail beside two of the troops. Talow sat, staring into the flames and going over everything that had happened that day. It had all started so normal and now...